A White House health care policy adviser said Tuesday there is no "magic" to signing up 7 million customers for new health insurance, downplaying a figure put out by the Congressional Budget Office back in March and widely seen as the administration's goal.
Attracting 7 million enrollees to the health care exchanges was "never our target number," the administration official, Phil Schiliro, told NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
Jan. 1, 2014 is the first day of insurance coverage for those who signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act before the Christmas deadline. Insurance companies have suggested the turnaround may be too tight to ensure that all goes smoothly, and Schiliro indicated that the Obama administration will be standing by to address any problems. "We're very excited, but we're vigiliant," he said. "We don't want anybody to have problems, but we know some people will."
Schiliro -- who returned to the White House in December after a nearly three-year hiatus to oversee health care policy -- invited customers, pharmacies or doctors who have issues with coverage to call a toll-free number for assistance. He added that people whose applications had been flagged for computer errors have been contacted, a move the White House hopes will ease concerns about bugs and glitches that plagued the system's rollout.
In all, more than 1 million people have signed up through the federal exchange and another 850,000 through state-based exchanges.